Woman accused in Essence Festival travel scam gets 9 years


Nakesia Washington (Photo: JPSO via nola.com)

GRETNA, La. (AP) — A woman accused of selling bogus vacation packages to the Essence Festival in New Orleans has been sentenced to 15 years in prison, with six years suspended.

The Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office says Nakesia Washington, of Harvey, Louisiana, admitted scamming 98 people who thought they were buying vacation packages from her company, OBL Travel. Investigators say the victims thought Washington had booked festival tickets, VIP passes and hotel rooms. But when they arrived in New Orleans, they realized they had been scammed.

Prosecutors say Washington’s victims — all of whom live out of state — lost more than $80,000 as a result.

WVUE-TV reports Washington pleaded guilty Wednesday. State District Judge Ellen Shrier Kovach sentenced her and ordered her to pay restitution. A restitution hearing is scheduled July 11.

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